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Brigite Salvatore: Making a difference

Meet Brigite Salvatore, who was behind model ciTizen, a documentary film that told the story of a Muslim transgender woman. She believes that there remain “lots of issues that we should focus on in the trans community (but) education is the key to let others understand as to what we are really fighting for. Freedom and acceptance is only reachable if we are able to transmit our vision to others.”

Two years ago, Brigite Salvatore was introduced to the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), which taught her about its advocacies that “opened my eyes to see the reality that each of us can do something to make a difference, and that if we help one another, we can live peacefully and this world can be a better place for all of us,” she said.

And so, from then on, Brigite became a staunch advocate of transgender rights, particularly in the Philippines.

Brigite Salvatore believes that "education is the key to let others understand as to what we are really fighting for, not just be for the community at large, but also for the people within the community. Freedom and acceptance is only reachable if we are able to transmit our vision to others.” PHOTO BY PATRICK KING PASCUAL, COURTESY OF BAHAGHARI CENTER

Brigite Salvatore believes that “education is the key to let others understand what we are really fighting for; and this is not only for those in the larger community, but also for those within the LGBT community. Freedom and acceptance are only reachable if we are able to transmit our visions to others.”
PHOTO BY PATRICK KING PASCUAL, COURTESY OF BAHAGHARI CENTER

In 2012, Brigite was sent to the HASIK Film Making Seminar, organized by Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism. There, she made it to the ALAB Finalists for Active Vista Film Festival, and was given the chance to make model ciTizen, a documentary film that told the story of a Muslim transgender woman.

Through this, “I want people to realize that we are not different from anybody else. We may not be ‘normal’ to others, but for us, we live life just like the way they do. We fight. We love. We pray. And most of all, we also want to be loved,” Brigite said to Outrage Magazine in an earlier interview about the film.

Having made the model ciTizen and “having a documentary film about my life is something that I’ll always be proud of and it wouldn’t be possible if not because of the people in the community who have helped me all the way,” Brigite said.

Brigite believes that there remain “lots of issues that we should focus on in the trans community. But I believe that education is the key to let others understand what we are really fighting for; and this is not only for those in the larger community, but also for those within the LGBTQI community. Freedom and acceptance are only reachable if we are able to transmit our visions to others.”

Brigite sees as a positive sign the growing trans awareness, which may be exemplified by the growing number of trans organizations and advocacy groups. However, while she acknowledged that “each trans organization has its own way of addressing and advocating transgender issues, I think the trans community would be a lot stronger if we all come together as one,” she said.

As she continues advocating for trans issues, Brigite said that she’d like to “reach out to the young trans people to educate them as far as being trans is concerned and probably collaborate with other advocacy groups to help them and make them understand more about trans issues, needs and concerns.”

Brigite remains inspired with “the way we (trans people) help one another and just be there for each other. We may be discriminated for who we are, but supporting one another makes everything possible,” she ended.

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